Celebrating is Important

The news is heavy today.  Despite the uncertainty or perhaps because of it,  this post of Simone’s couldn’t be timed better.   My heart felt lighter and my soul felt ready to face the world again when I’d finished reading it.  Celebrations are important.  Now more than ever.  Can I encourage you to set aside the news cycle for a moment and read this instead.  Live brave, sister! Meredith xo

BY SIMONE GRAHAM

With Christmas looming and BBQ season cranking up, it can feel a bit overwhelming if you find yourself having to play host when it’s not really your thing. I write a blog called Great Fun etc which is known for its party posts, but can I let you in on a little secret? I’m not naturally a party person. I’m not an extrovert, I don’t like crowds and I struggle day-to-day with organisation. Yet somehow we have managed to create a family culture where we love to celebrate.

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Every birthday, anniversary, and special occasion will see us hosting a party of some kind.  (Which is kind of odd because I am actually a bookworm introvert). This started out slowly. In the early years birthday parties were at Chipmunks Indoor playground, and I’d attempt a cake. But somehow over the years I discovered that I enjoyed making people feel special. And welcome. And I loved creating an atmosphere, using my imagination, using what I have to create a bit of magic… Long before I blogged I began loving creating parties – because of the memories and the warm fuzzy feeling that came when I made my kid or my friends or my hubby feel important.

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Nowadays, we love to have people over and spend time with special people enjoying an occasion together. I can whip up a mean party in half a day. I’ve learnt some tricks (mainly how to stay calm, how to minimise the workload and to always, always have a rain plan).

If you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you’ll know it can be a little bit overwhelming – all that cleverness. If we start to compare our efforts with just a fraction of what we see there we can start to feel terribly inadequate and awfully overwhelmed. So don’t bother comparing. Stop looking at Pinterest, if it’s making you feel that way.

What matters is not that everything at your celebration is themed and Picture perfect – what matters is that you celebrate.

It matters that your guests feel welcomed and that the birthday person feels special. What matters is that you enjoy yourself too, and that memories are made because you’ve spent time with people who matter to you, not that you got hung up on hosting the perfect Pinnable Party.

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Even though I delight in coming up with creative ideas for the celebrations we host, I’m more into making memories and a little bit of magic, not starring on Pinterest with big budget professional parties. I love at-home parties that don’t just look pretty but are fun to be at.

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Round here, we’re fans of the deceptively-simple, we like to re-use, upcycle and get creative. We involve our kids in the planning and preparation, we get a kick out of being clever and focus on having fun.  All our parties are home-made, on a budget and absolutely enjoyed by all (kids and adults alike).

When it comes to birthdays, we believe celebrating each other is a way of showing appreciation and letting each person know that they’re valued and special. At Christmas, we’ve learnt that less is more and magic moments are more likely when you’re not stressed by trying to do too much (but that’s a whole other story).

Celebration is such a part of our family culture now. For us, Celebrations are a must.  They are a highlight. A bright spot. A peak in what can sometimes feel like a year of valleys. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” the Proverb says. And so it does.

When things are feeling grim and heavy, throw a party – even if it’s just you and your kids. Celebrations don’t have to involve crowds of people or weeks of planning. Sometimes an impromptu “party for no reason” can brighten up a dull or disastrous week.

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To help with impromptu parties we have:

  •  a pretty impressive dress-up collection which has been added to over nine years
  •  a crafty box, filled with bits and bobs, a glue gun and leftover party bits, like balloons
  •  a cake decorating drawer, filled with food colouring, squeezy tubes of gel icing, sprinkles,
  • cachous and candles (again, collected and added to over the years)
  •  jar lanterns, candles, Christmas lights,  fabric bits,  mosquito nets and tablecloths, for
  • decoration
  •  a collection of face paints and glitter, added to over time, from the good old dollar store
  •  a brazier that we light and sit around – cooking sausages, toasting marshmallows and playing games

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It takes half an hour to whip up a batch of Cupcakes, and set up a pretty table. We raid the cupboards for fruit to chop, popcorn to pop and marshmallows to make it a bit festive. Sometimes we call the neighbours and invite them to share the goodies; sometimes we party on our own. We turn on some music and dance (or ride bikes or have a water fight). Instant party. Impromptu parties are so enjoyable, truly.

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We often throw one during the school holidays. I make sure to invite mums I want to hang out with who have children my kids will enjoy playing with. Everyone brings food to share (“something festive”). I call it a party, and once you call it a party, it is one. 

Throwing the odd party for no reason might be the very thing you need to boost your spirits, every now and then! You may be surprised at how easy it is. All you need is some bunting, a few friends and some cake.  If you don’t have bunting, just friends and cake.  If you can’t find friends at short notice, just cake and bunting and your kids.

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There should always be cake (but you can always train your kids to bake it). A birthday party need take no more work than this, really. When it comes to birthdays, the crucial thing is not the decor, it’s the celebration. Taking a day to let someone know they are a special and valued member of the family. That they are loved and appreciated. King or Queen for a day. Celebrated.

That’s why we party.

A full list of all our parties, including photos can be found here {click}

simone

 Simone Graham blogs at Great Fun etc  she is a Party Nut, Mother, Wife, Book Lover, Blogger, Human Being.  She’s coming to you from Auckland, New Zealand, where she lives with her crazy family in a 1920’s bungalow which she loves to DIY.

 

 

 

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